We have just come through a tremendously cloudy, dismal, cold, snowy Easter week-end. But, as the old song says, "Back of the clouds, the sun is always shining." This morning the sky was beautiful as I drove to work. The picture above is a depiction of our lives at this time. The only thing that kept us going was the assurance that God was with us and the faith that that the sun was still shining somewhere.
It had been an exciting couple of years for Kev. He had been to Mozambique twice on mission trips. He had discovered Africa Nazarene University and asked if it would be possible for him to go there to school. We worked through all of those hoops and got him there in January for spring semester. He wanted to learn Swahili, and had asked around for the best student to tutor him. Friends introduced him to Sema. I'll never forget the day he sent me two pictures of her by e-mail attachment. She was MUCH more than a tutor to him, it was obvious. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this young Kenyan woman. The semester ended in May and we helped him extend his time in Africa another month. He very reluctantly left Sema there with the plan of marrying her - something we didn't know about at the time and that and would come as a huge shock to us.
Kev had left apartment life behind before he left for Africa, and moved back home for "awhile." Let me assure you that moving into the "dark, musty basement" was his idea. I had re-done his bedroom and told him he could sleep there temporarily, but he was not to do anything to the walls. I guess the decor wasn't to his liking and he chose the dungeon. He made himself a little nest down there with beads hung as a partition and all of his African memorabilia surrounding him.
Darby - what kind of name is Darby? I don't remember ever hearing this name before that fateful day. I am in total amazement as I realize how totally in denial and lack of discernment we were living. How could a person live in our house, albeit the basement, and we be so unaware of what was going on? Kevin and I would stay up late talking, reading some of Angie's beautiful writing, connecting (I thought). I really thought his spiritual life was flourishing after two such amazing mission experiences and meeting a lovely Christian lady that he wanted to marry. Now I am remembering the night he got up on the wrong side of his bed, crashed into the shelf full of beautiful African carved artifacts, and broke them. He said he was walking in his sleep, but perhaps he was under the influence of heroin that night.
The night Kevin relates is the most horrid so far in this journey. Darby was taken to a detox center, as far as we knew. We never did learn if he was charged with anything criminal. Once again, as with Brandon, Kev caught the brunt of the legal system and the other perpetrator seemingly got off. But, in God's system, Kev was eventually going to be the winner, because he had to pay for what he did and learn the very hard way that he couldn't get away with anything forever.
I don't know what "pain" Kev and Darby were trying to ease, but heroin certainly wasn't going to be a solution. We learned that Darby was the son of Kevin's high school assistant principal. Even a guy who worked with high school kids all day long every day didn't have a handle on his kid's behavior. Ironically, just this week I found the journal I was keeping during this period and the notation says that when Darby rang the doorbell that first day (how did he know Kev was home?), he felt safe in going out with Darby because he didn't drink! I don't know if Kev was being straight with me, or if he knew that's what I'd want to hear. It doesn't matter in the long run, because the result was the same.
If you have never received that call from the police, or from your child calling collect for "his one call", praise God in heaven that you haven't. My body retains the feeling I had that next day when I had to go to a courtroom and see what would happen to him that day after he had spent the night in jail. I thought I'd get to see him, to look in his eyes, to hug him. Instead, everyone in that room sat and waited to see their loved one shown on a t.v. screen by video feed (very poorly done) from the detention center, in shackles, wearing an orange jumpsuit and flipflops. What devastation! I can remember just sinking into my chest and sobbing. How had this happened? In spite of it all, I still believed in his innocence and that he was just trying to protect Darby that night and save his life. And to save Darby from arrest by sticking the drugs in his car. I was so very naive.
Maybe we shouldn't have, but we bailed him out (he did repay us eventually), hired a lawyer, and headed into an abyss that would take a long time and a lot of money to dig out of. The attorney was from New York and was hardened by crime and criminals. He didn't give Kevin a chance of succeeding, staying clean, paying his debt to society. Kevin was determined to prove him wrong.
TO BE CONTINUED.